ACLU Sends Letter to U.S. Attorney General Asking Feds to Backoff on State Legal Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

In a letter to the United States Attorney Eric Holder dated May 9, 2011, the American Civil Liberties Association (ACLU) expressed “deep concerns about recent threatening letters from several United States Attorneys from across the country regarding the potential initiation of federal prosecutions against persons who are complying with state medical marijuana laws.”  The letter says in part:

“We further assume that the low priority status extends not only to patients, but also those who license and distribute medical marijuana in full compliance with state laws that are designed to protect public safety by ensuring an orderly and appropriately circumscribed distribution process for medical marijuana.

The recent U.S. Attorneys’ letters also reflect a policy of obstructionism in the face of the complex and evolving issue of medical marijuana, which nearly one-third of the states have now decriminalized in recognition of the unique and substantive benefit this drug provides to patients with certain serious conditions. The states to which the recent U.S. Attorneys’ letters have been directed have wisely recognized not only the needs of patients and the value of marijuana as a medicine, but also the need for a rational distribution scheme that channels this drug to humanitarian uses without contributing to a black market. As a policy matter, the same protections that extend to patients should also be extended to state-licensed distributors or state employees who are in clear compliance with state law. The laws of the affected states further recognize that it is not enough to permit patients to use the medicine; there must be a mechanism for growing and distributing medicine that provides a safe method of access. The state laws and detailed regulations implementing distribution promote both public health and public safety. The U.S. Attorneys’ implied threats of prosecution against those who are merely following state law are thus inconsistent with the administration’s announced intention to end the “war” on drugs and adopt a public health approach to drug policy.”

By |2011-05-20T08:08:30-07:00May 20th, 2011|Marijuana Crimes, Stories & Articles|Comments Off on ACLU Sends Letter to U.S. Attorney General Asking Feds to Backoff on State Legal Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

October 19, 2009, Department of Justice Guidelines to Federal Prosecutors on Medical Marijuana in States that Have Legalized Its Use

Department of Justice Guidelines for Federal Prosecutors in States that Legalize Medical Marijuana

On October 19 , 2009, “Attorney General Eric Holder announced formal guidelines for federal prosecutors in states that have enacted laws authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Those guidelines are contained in a memo from Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden.”  The following is the text of the Department of Justice  medical marijuana letter.

October 19,2009

MEMORANDUM FOR SELECTED UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS

FROM: David W. Ogden, Deputy Attorney General

SUBJECT: Investigations and Prosecutions in States Authorizing the Medical Use of Marijuana

This memorandum provides clarification and guidance to federal prosecutors in States that have enacted laws authorizing the medical use of marijuana. These laws vary in their substantive provisions and in the extent of state regulatory oversight, both among the enacting States and among local jurisdictions within those States. Rather than developing different guidelines for every possible variant of state and local law, this memorandum provides uniform guidance to focus federal investigations and prosecutions in these States on core federal enforcement priorities. (more…)

By |2015-04-06T18:49:24-07:00December 30th, 2010|Legal Issues, Marijuana Crimes|Comments Off on October 19, 2009, Department of Justice Guidelines to Federal Prosecutors on Medical Marijuana in States that Have Legalized Its Use